Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Computer Death

Sometimes these things just happen. A few days ago, I turn on my computer--an HP I've had for about five years--and it refuses to boot up. All I can get is the dreaded "blue screen of death" which is always a sign of serious trouble. In my case it was fatal trouble. I tried booting up in the safe mode which has saved my bacon a few times over the years, and I thought I was okay since the computer came up this way . . . but then died again after a few minutes. Refusing to believe that this catastrophe was happening, I fruitlessly went through the same drills several more times as if the computer were just having a joke on me and would decide to stop fooling around and just work. Funny how your mind plays tricks with you like that.

Simply because it doesn't want to face the fact that the worst of computer nightmares has commenced. A computer has died, which means you are in for the whole agonizing process of replacing it, the hardware, and reloading everything that was on it, the software. For me, either task is painful. The first is expensive, but thankfully, not nearly as expensive as it used to be. I managed to find an opened box Gateway at Circuit City for less than $400. (Here are the technical specs.) I have not been able to find many reviews, but 2 out of the 3 that appear on Amazon, are very negative. Ah, well. I've been buying and using computers for almost 30 years, and I've never really gotten a lemon. I used to do all kinds of studying and comparison before I bought a computer. Now I just trust my luck. Besides, this was an emergency. And besides that, I would not have taken the time to do all that shopping. My time's more valuable than that now.

I have not completed the second part of the task, reloading everything onto the computer. No matter what, you're not going to get the new machine back to where the old familiar one was. I've just decided to turn that page and push on. My data files (everything--documents, pictures, music, etc., and, as it turns out, a whole bunch that I would have just thrown away) are being restored by Carbonite which I had the presence of mind to engage about a year ago. This task is not yet completed and it started yesterday morning around 10.

The new situation has finally pushed me into doing a couple of things I've been putting off: moving to a new interface in Gmail and graduating up to Firefox version 3 for Internet browsing. In both cases, these were good moves, especially the latter. And I have to confess, the new computer is a lot faster than the old, creaky HP, that was loaded down with years' worth of crap and had a Trojan virus on it that I never was able to get off. That surely could not have helper performance.

So all of this is painful . . . that's the bottom line. But this too, like everything else, shall pass.
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